Florida State players know what they have done wrong and that those self-inflicted mistakes have been devastating, with penalties, drops and mental miscues leading to an 0-2 start.
While the plan very much is preparing for Wake Forest, the focus is on reducing those issues and being more efficient on offense and defense ahead of Saturday’s game.
“We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” quarterback McKenzie Milton said Wednesday. “We just got to go make plays, stay ahead of the sticks and score some points.”
There is a sense that the mistakes are correctable and coaches can work through the issues as part of film study and work on the practice field. Milton said on two occasions there were receivers who were misaligned, leading to penalties. While seemingly small, those plays are essentially over before it has begun — and the Seminoles get hit with a penalty, too.
FSU coach Mike Norvell was asked about the team’s identity taking shape through two games and framed his response through the lens of eliminating mistakes.
“I think we’ve put ourselves in some challenging situations,” Norvell said. “That doesn’t necessarily reflect to what I think we do well. I’ve bever been part of an offense that’s been really good at second down and extremely long or third down and extremely long situations. If we continue to play in those situations it’s going to be hard to really get a sense of where we are and who we are. We got to fix that. It’s been a big point of emphasis.”
FSU is 121st among the 130 FBS teams in penalties with 20 for 168 yards. Wake Forest has played a pair of FCS teams to open the season but has also been quite clean, being penalized just six times for 64 yards.
“We’re playing a perfect team in terms of what we’ve been struggling with, in terms of execution and discipline,” Milton said. “That’s what Wake is all about. We got to go out there and execute.”
Early positives from Williamson
Redshirt freshman receiver Darion Williamson showed his grasp of the offense in camp and has made an early impression with four catches for 44 yards in two games. Williamson led FSU with 32 receiving yards on Saturday. It’s worth noting that his four catches are on four targets and he has clearly built chemistry with FSU’s quarterbacks.
“He’s special with the ball in his hands,” Milton said. “He gets open. We’re going to keep finding ways to get him the ball if he’s going to keep making plays. He’s a great player and a great kid.”
A surprise interview on Wednesday was defensive back Jarvis Brownlee, who discussed how he is bouncing back after he and safety Sidney Williams had coverage on the final play of the Jacksonville State game.
“I appreciate all my teammates, they’ve been checking on me, sending texts, coming up to my house, making sure that I’m good,” Brownlee said. “Making sure that I don’t need anything. Making sure my head is straight and locked in and focused. I appreciate my coaches, my teammates for supporting me.”
Brownlee later said, “In that moment I didn’t come down to making a big play.”
After a lethargic practice on Tuesday that often featured drops, the Seminoles looked more crisp on Wednesday. Milton and Travis both worked with the first-team offense
Turner out for season
Norvell announced after Wednesday’s practice that freshman defensive end Byron Turner Jr. would miss the rest of the season.
“Had an injury early in camp,” Norvell said. “Worked through it for a while. Decided to get it fixed and start the rehab process.”
Turner Jr. has already begun rehab. While his injury was not disclosed, Turner Jr. was seen at practice with a sling on his left arm. Turner Jr. did not play in FSU’s first two games.
A reminder that FSU at Wake is Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN).